EigaFest, a Japanese film festival like no other, returns to us earlier than expected starting this September. For just three days we're getting live-action Japanese action and drama movies we may never see in the US on any screen for years, licensing and distributing people. The festival kicks off with the live action, just released in Japan, "Lupin the Third". The festival closes with a sequel to one of the films screened at the fest in 2012, "Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno". Both are based on popular manga and anime series in Japan. Fans in the US might know the two series from their popularity on Toonami. They will both have special celebrations alongside their premieres.
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"Lupin the Third" brings to life the charismatic and perpetually perverse thief, Lupin played by Shun Oguri with his team of Jigen;guns, Goemon;swords and Fujiko;beauty. They must avenge the murder of a fallen thief by breaking into the Ark, an island fortress that holds a precious necklace. The always angry Inspector Zenigata played by Tadanobu Asano will be on their tail. This screening will be the international premiere of "Lupin the Third".
The other live adaption of Lupin, back in the 70's, was not well-received for it's cheesy effects and bad acting.
"Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno" has Takeru Sato reprising his role as Kenshin in 19th century Japan, a samurai with amazing skill that doesn't kill. He'll be going up against a powerful foe, Makoto Shishio, scarred and wrapped in bandages this new enemy seeks to destroy the Japanese's governments regime. It's the US premiere of the film.
Tom Cruise will receive the Japan Cool Content Contribution Award (J3C Award) as part of the festival. Given by the Japanese government, the award honors those who help bring Japanese culture to the world. The event will be held along-side Eiga Fest, not at it. It will take place at the Japanese Consulate-General's Hancock Park residence Sept. 13. Legendary Pictures and “Edge of Tomorrow” director Doug Liman will also receive awards.
For those wondering what Tom Cruise recently did to receive the award, it's fun to note Edge of Tomorrow is based on a Japanese novel and manga. Legendary was the company behind this year's Godzilla.
"Godzilla", (1954) and (2014) will be playing as part of a special 60th Anniversary double feature screening.
Rounding out the festival are some films of different genres with Japanese style. "Samurai Hustle", has a poor clan head, Masaatsu, heading to Edo in limited or get in trouble with the Shogun. "Bilocation", is a horror thriller about meeting another version of you, a doppelganger murder film. Wood Job!, has a young man down on his luck looking for love in a remote Japanese village unknowingly working on a festival that promotes fertility with giant phallic wooden penises.